Long-haul COVID can include chronic fatigue

To better understand what may be driving their symptoms, the researchers conducted tests to assess their breathing patterns during exercise and typical daily routines.

Participants were also asked to indicate patterns of fatigue over the previous half year, such as any joint stiffness, muscle aches, sleep and concentration problems, and problems related to stress.

In all, 46% had developed post-COVID chronic fatigue, the study found. And that’s a tricky finding, Mancini said, given that in many cases the initial COVID infection was not life-threatening or even as serious.

Their conclusion: “In principle, anyone who has COVID is in danger.”

That care is shared by Drs. Colin Franz, an assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation and neurology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, reviewed the findings.

While researchers are trying to define this problem, between 0.5% and 1% of non-hospital COVID patients develop at least one long-term symptom, he said. “Given the large number of people that COVID had worldwide, this represents millions of people,” Franz said.

In fact, most people who develop COVID problems over the long term have never been so sick with COVID themselves, he added.

“As someone who sees several post-COVID patients per week with persistent problems of shortness, I am not surprised by these findings,” Franz said, “although I think many of my colleagues may not be a see many post.-COVID langhaulers.

Franz said he was skeptical at first when he heard of persistent symptoms in patients whose COVID infection did not place them in the hospital.

“But my involvement in our post-COVID clinical rehabilitation program has convinced me that this is a really common problem,” he added.

The new findings were published in the December issue of JACC: Heart Failure,

More information

There’s more about COVID at long distance at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCES: Donna Mancini, MD, Professor of Medicine, Cardiology and Population Health Science and Policy, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City; Colin Franz, MD, PhD, Clinician-Scientist, Shirley Ryan AbilityLab and Assistant Professor, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Neurology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago; JACC: Heart Failure, December 2021

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